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Posts Tagged ‘fundraiser’

Coney Island USA Gala.

Coney Island USA Gala, 2012. Photo © Norman Blake

On Saturday, the Coney Island Sideshow, Burlesque at the Beach and an entourage of quirky entertainers take over Webster Hall in Manhattan for Coney Island USA’s Spring Gala. Highlights of the Ides of March party include the mock assassination of Caesar, a Mini-Mermaid Parade, and over 50 performers from go go and burlesque dancers to sideshow sword swallowers and fire eaters. Tickets for the annual fundraiser start at $100. Online ticket sales end Friday, March 14th at 5pm. Tickets at the door at Webster Hall on day of show beginning at 6:30pm.

Coney Island USA Spring Gala 2014, Saturday, March 15th, 7pm – 11pm. Webster Hall, 125 East 11 St, between 3rd and 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003

Coney Island USA Gala

Sasha FireGypsy Gaulin at Coney Island USA Gala, 2012. Photo © Norman Blake

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Mermaid Parade Kickstarter

In an article about Coney Island for Islands Magazine’s “Best Beaches” issue in 2000, I asked “How are mermaids different from mortal women?” A siren wearing little more than a sequined fishtail and a sprinkling of glitter looked me in the eye and said, “Mortal women don’t have the boom-boom shimmy-sham that mermaids possess. For another thing, we have all that fantasy on our side.” Everyone who comes to Coney Island partakes in that fantasy. It’s hard to imagine kicking off the summer in Coney Island without the Mermaid Parade, but it could happen for the first time in 31 years unless $100,000 is raised via Kickstarter by June 3rd.

Best Mermaid Kate Dale

Three-time “Best Mermaid” Kate Dale on Purple Sofa Float in 2008 Mermaid Parade. June 21, 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Coney Island USA, the non-profit arts organization that puts on the free parade, was devastated by Superstorm Sandy. Its sideshow, burlesque shows and Freak Bar have yet to open for the season as renovation of the flood-damaged first floor is underway. While Coney Island’s rides, games and Boardwalk shops and eateries opened as usual on Palm Sunday, Coney Island USA’s theater has remained dark. With no revenue coming in, there’s a budget shortfall in the mermaid department.

Amy Winehouse Mermaids

Amy Winehouse Mermaids sing They Wanted Me to 2 Go CONDO but I said NO NO NO in 2008 Mermaid Parade. June 21, 2008. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

“A free parade is expensive,” says the intro on Kickstarter. “As the crowds have grown to 750,000 people over the past years, we’ve had to contend with more regulations and restrictions that have sharply increased the cost of the event.” The good news is the crowdfunding campaign to save the June 22nd event has already raised one-third of the $100,000 goal with contributions ranging from $1 to $250. But Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing funding model. The project must be fully funded for the parade to be saved. Thank you gifts include freak flags ($5 or more), pasties and tote bags ($40 or more), and a VIP spot on an elevated roof deck to watch the parade ($150 or more).

Lollipop and Candy Memaids

Lollipop and Candy Mermaids in 2009 Mermaid Parade. June 20, 2009. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

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April 2, 2013: Shoot the Freak Reborn in Coney Island as Shoot the Clown

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April 27, 2012: The Dancing Doll “Miss Coney Island” Speaks

January 3, 2012: Record 3,000 “Do It” at Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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Usually we tweet event listings instead of posting them on the blog, which is why you should be following ATZ on twitter. Today is an exception since there happens to be a trio of Coney Island special events outside of Coney, where it’s freeeezing on the Boardwalk. The three events are pretty much at the same time so you’ll have to choose…

“Last Summer at Coney Island” at Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

When “Last Summer at Coney Island” premiered in August 2010 at BAM, the audience got teary eyed during the scene in which Astroland’s lights were extinguished, ride by ride, for the final time, and the illuminated Astrotower made its last descent. The award-winning documentary by JL Aronson chronicles changing times in Coney Island with riveting scenes featuring Thor Equities CEO Joe Sitt and Astroland owner Carol Hill Albert, among others. The film ends with the City Council passing the rezoning in July 2009. Presented as part of the Film Wax series “Brooklyn Reconstructed,” the screening will be followed by a discussion with the film-maker and Nate Bliss of the Alliance for Coney Island and NYC Economic Development Corporation about how Coney Island is faring today.

Wednesday, January 23rd at 7:00pm at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture, 53 Prospect Park West in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY, 11215. Suggested $5 donation.

Coney Island Circus Sideshow at the Slipper Room

While Coney Island USA’s theater is closed for renovations after flood damage from Superstorm Sandy, the Coney Island Sideshow is performing on Wednesday nights all winter long at the Slipper Room. This week’s stars are knife-thrower extraordinaire The Great Throwdini and his target girl Lynn, and sword swallowers and fire eaters Kryssy Kocktail and Adam Realman. Last week Adam debuted the sensational act shown in the video — blowing up a hot water bottle till it bursts!

Wednesday, January 23rd. Doors at 7:00 pm, Show at 8:00 pm. Slipper Room, 167 Orchard St, New York, NY, 10002. Over 21. Tickets $10.

Brews for the New York Aquarium at Brooklyn Brewery

Sponsored by the Young Patrons Program of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Wednesday’s “Brews for NYAQ” is a fundraiser for the New York Aquarium, which is also closed due to damage from Sandy. The event includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and a presentation at 8:30pm by Jon Forrest Dohlin, WCS Vice President and Director, New York Aquarium. In Charles Denson’s film shown above, Dohlin dives Coney Island Creek in a Mark V diving helmet. The film was shot several days before the hurricane and the flooding of the Creek.

Wednesday, January 23rd from 7:30pm-10:30pm. Brooklyn Brewery, #1 Brewers Row, 79 North 11th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11249. Tickets $50 online, $65 at door.

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ATZ is pleased to present this Coney Island Polar Bear’s eye view of the 2013 New Year’s Day Plunge with videos by Polar Bear Club members Jim McDonnell and Princess Mermaid Capri. The Polar Bear Club, which has 150 members who swim every Sunday in the winter, celebrated their 110th year with the 2013 New Year’s Day Plunge. About 2,000 people participated in today’s event, which is free and open to the public. They earned an “I Did It” certificate from the Club and “bragging rights forever,” as one participant says in Jim’s video. The water temperature was 41F/5C, air temp 37F and wind chill 27F, according to Capri.

For the first time in the Polar Bear Club’s history, instead of everyone running into the water at once, waves of people went in approximately every seven minutes, a couple hundred at a time. Also for the first time, registration was mandatory for the New Year’s Day Plunge since participants were issued color-coded wristbands. Those with blue wristbands were in the first wave of swimmers at 1pm, followed by red, green, orange and purple. Here’s the first wave…

“It went very well,” Polar Bear President Dennis Thomas told ATZ. “The Parks Department wanted a little more control and less chaos. And we did a better job of getting everyone registered.” Last year on New Year’s Day, temps in the 50s drew a record number of participants– more than 3,000– making the changes advisable from a safety standpoint.

Besides being a great way to start off the new year, the annual event is a fundraiser for Camp Sunshine, a retreat for children with life threatening diseases. According to Thomas, almost $22,000 was raised for Camp Sunshine and they expect to meet their goal of $25,000. This year, funds are also being raised for Coney Recovers, a coalition of local nonprofits helping with relief efforts after SuperStorm Sandy. If you missed the event, it’s not too late to donate online or mail in a check.

This video by Princess Mermaid Capri shows the fourth wave of swimmers…

Some of the wacky costumed characters are familiar from previous years’ swims or reminiscent of the Mermaid Parade. In photos and videos, we spotted the bagpiper, the Metrocard Man, Santa Claus, Hawaiians, various superheroes and the guys with the inflatable octopus toy as well as penguins and polar bears! Some carried hand-made signs that read “Free Polar Hugs” and “Polar Bears from the Bronx.” Two Japanese guys in bikinis from Tokyo Circus shared a timeless message: “Your Smile Is Beautiful.” Happy New Year from Coney Island!

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December 1 2012: Dec 2: Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s First Swim of Season

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December 18, 2011: Playing Santa at the Coney Island Polar Bear Plunge

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New Year's Day Swim

Unwinding after a Busy Holiday...Coney Island Polar Bear Club New Year's Day Swim 2011. Photo © Barry Yanowitz

On New Year’s Day 2011, when Santa should have been back at the North Pole after a busy Christmas, photographer Barry Yanowitz spotted him at the Coney Island Polar Bear Swim! The annual event is zany fun as well as a fundraiser for a very good cause. You can play Santa on New Year’s Day 2012 by pledging a donation to this year’s plunge or helping participants meet their fundraising goals. The funds make it possible for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families to enjoy a holiday at Camp Sunshine in Maine.

“Last year we raised over $50,000 for Camp Sunshine, and hope to exceed that this year,” Coney Island Polar Bear Club President Dennis Thomas told ATZ. “Approximately 1,200 swimmers registered last year. People can make donations on site on New Year’s Day or pledge at Freezin’ for a Reason.” (If you’re reading this after New Year’s Day, it’s not too late to mail a check.)

There’s no fee for observers or participants at the increasingly popular annual event, but the Coney Island Polar Bear Club encourages participants to make a donation to Camp Sunshine. They will receive a free breakfast, all-day admission to the New York Aquarium and the official “I Did It!” certificate. Swim time is at 1 pm sharp. Registration begins at 11 am on the Boardwalk at Stillwell Avenue. Before and After Party at Ruby’s Bar from 11am till 2:30pm!

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January 1, 2013: Videos of the Day: Coney Island Polar Bear New Year’s Day Plunge 2013

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Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School, Agoura Hills, California- 2009-2010. Photo © Boardwalklover via flickr

When we saw this adorable photo of the Save Coney Island Club of Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California, it made us think– Wow, California really is ahead of the curve! We agree with the sentiments of the Brooklynite who found the photo on flickr and called it to our attention: “Maybe it’ll spawn Save Coney Island Clubs in New York City high schools!”

According to the photo caption “As of January 2010, we have raised apr. $130.00. It meets EVERY ODD FRIDAY in ROOM M5A at lunch! (periods 1-3-5).”

ATZ contacted the club’s founder, 15-year-old Taylor Stein, for more information. Taylor got the Save Coney Island T-shirt that he’s wearing in the photo when he visited Coney Island last summer with his Dad. The Stein family is originally from Brooklyn. Taylor returned to California more determined than ever to help save Coney Island’s shrinking outdoor amusement area from high rise development and to preserve its historic structures.

Taylor told us about the club’s activities: “We raised $130 by having a candy apple and fudge fundraiser, and also by getting donations and rewarding candy on a daily basis at school. Our club meets every other Friday at lunch and discusses key ways to raise money that will help cover the expenses of the Save Coney Island lawsuit against the city. We also watch historic Coney Island films while eating lunch, plus we talk about the history and current events happening in Coney Island. We hope to raise at least $400 by the end of the year.”

Mapquest’s total travel estimate from Coney Island to Agoura Hills is 43 hours 5 minutes or 2833.03 miles. We’re impressed by the California club’s long distance devotion to Coney Island. It’s proof that what Steeplechase Park creator George C. Tilyou wrote in 1886 is truer than ever: “If Paris is France, then Coney Island, between June to September, is the world.”

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Didja ever notice the first three letters of fundraiser are F-U-N? Saturday’s benefit for Save Coney Island is “Guaranteed to be a raucous good time!” The Save Coney folks have “Gone Country for Coney” with a Country/Bluegrass Musical Jamboree, Wild West Variety Show and chow from Jake’s BBQ. Extra Added Attractions include a Burlesque Show After Party. It’s all happening this Saturday from 3 till 9:30 pm at Galapagos Artspace in DUMBO.

Tickets are $20, $15 till 5 pm. The fundraiser benefits Save Coney Island, a volunteer, non-profit organization committed to restoring Coney Island as a world-class amusement destination for all New Yorkers and visitors. For additional info, visit SaveConeyIsland.net

gone country for coney

January 30, 3- 9:30 pm, Save Coney Island Benefit at Galapagos Artspace, 16 Main Street at Water Street, DUMBO. (A & C trains to High, F to York)

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January 2, 2010: Photo Album: Coney Island Boardwalk, New Year’s Day 2010

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June 11, 2009: Coney Island Amusement Advocates Rally for More Acreage for Outdoor Rides

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